TRENTON, N.J. (CBSNewYork/AP) — Authorities say a northern New Jersey high school wrestling coach and middle school gym teacher has been arrested and charged with possessing child pornography and running a marijuana growing operation.

Acting Attorney General John Hoffman said Thursday that 37-year-old Justin Bozinta, of Roselle, is charged with third-degree possession of child pornography and faces first-degree drug charges.

Bozinta is the wrestling coach at East Orange Campus High School and a middle school teacher at the Costley Middle School in East Orange.

Hoffman said Bozinta was arrested last Friday after investigators found that he had uploaded several images of child pornography to a Google Plus photo account using a computer located at a school facility.

Detectives also found a “grow room” with a special ventilation system, high-powered lights and chemicals as well as 40 marijuana plants in his home when they served a search warrant, Hoffman said.

“It’s appalling that a man entrusted with instructing and mentoring young students as a teacher and coach allegedly was dealing drugs and sexually exploiting children by viewing child pornography online,” Hoffman said in a statement. “Fortunately, we were able to uncover the dark side of Bozinta’s life and eliminate the danger he potentially posed to students.”

“I don’t believe it at all,” East Orange high student Naim Sowell said.

Sowell told CBS2’s Christine Sloan Bozinta was not only his wrestling coach, but his mentor.

“When I asked him about a lot of things, he would always tell me the right thing to do, never the wrong thing,” he said.

The superintendent said she is aware of the situation and is “cooperating fully with authorities,” but will not say if Bozinta still has a job.

Parents of students at Costley Middle School are appalled.

“That’s crazy. My daughter has been going here, she’s a 12-year-old little girl. That’s real uncomfortable,” one mother told 1010 WINS’ Kevin Rincon.

“It’s scary because you never know. I was always worried about sending my child to school before they could speak because you never know what goes on but it’s definitely a scary thing for parents out here,” another said.

“They should be screening them, the teachers and stuff. If they could do that,” one parent told WCBS 880’s Jim Smith.

“My daughter always thought he was weird, but now he is proven to be weird,” parent Elethia Howell said. “The way he looked he was not put together, he was disheveled.”

CBS2 was unable to get a comment from Bozinta’s attorney.

Bozinta is currently being held at the Union County Jail on $275,000 bail. His first court appearance is scheduled for Friday.

(TM and © Copyright 2015 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2015 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

Comments

Leave a Reply